Posts for: March, 2015
When a tooth is lost, it’s important to restore your mouth to its proper function and appearance with a permanent replacement, such as a dental implant or a bridge. Recently, the implant system has received the lion’s share of attention (for some good reasons); however, in certain situations, dental bridgework offers a viable alternative. What would cause one method to be favored over the other?
In general, implants are now considered the gold standard for tooth replacement. They have the highest success rate (over 95 percent), last the longest (quite possibly the rest of your life), and don’t affect the integrity of adjacent teeth. Bridges, by contrast, require the removal of tooth structure from adjacent teeth, which can potentially compromise their health. Yet implants aren’t necessarily ideal for every situation. When might a bridge be preferred?
Some people don’t have the proper quantity or quality of bone in the jaw to support an implant; or, they may have anatomical structures (nerves or sinuses) located where they would interfere with an implant. It is possible in some cases to work around these obstacles with bone grafts, or by placing implants in alternate locations; in other cases, a bridge may be a better option.
While most tolerate the implant process quite well, a few people aren’t good candidates for the surgical procedure required to place an implant. Certain systemic diseases (uncontrolled diabetes, for example), the use of particular medications, or a compromised immune system may make even minor surgery an unacceptable risk. In these cases, a decision may be made after consulting with an individual’s other health care providers. Additionally, a few behaviors or lifestyle issues, like heavy smoking or a teeth-grinding habit, tend to make implants have a less favorable success rate.
There are also a few circumstances that could argue in favor of a bridge — for example, if you already have a need for crowns on the teeth adjacent to the gap, it can make the process of getting bridgework easier and more economical. Financial issues are often an important consideration in planning treatment — but it’s important to remember that while bridges are generally less expensive than implants in the short term, the much longer expected life of implants can make them more cost-effective in the long run.
If you have questions about dental implants or bridgework for tooth replacement, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”
We're always tickled to see dentists represented in popular culture, especially when portrayed by an actor as handsome as John Stamos. On the hit television show Glee, Stamos played a dentist who made sure the glee club members cleaned up their act when it came to oral hygiene — though perhaps he used a bit too much anesthesia to achieve this admirable goal. While under his care — and lots of sedation — several Glee characters had music-infused hallucinations in which they danced and sang with pop star Britney Spears.
Far-fetched? No doubt. Still, it's worth mentioning that sedation has its place in dentistry. In fact, if you are someone who tends to get anxious or even fearful about dental treatment, you should know that sedation can help you relax both mind and body so you can feel peaceful rather than anxious in the dentist's chair. And that's the whole point: Fear of pain should not stand in the way of your getting the care that will keep you healthy and allow you to keep your teeth for as long as possible.
You may not know this, but when you are afraid, your threshold for pain is actually lower. You become hypersensitive to every sensation and sound, and you tense your muscles. Fear and anxiety trigger the release of certain chemicals that put you in “fight or flight” mode. In this heightened state of alert you experience more pain during and even after treatment.
The good news is that this response can virtually be eliminated with various oral sedatives and/or with nitrous oxide, which is inhaled. Both treatments will allow you to let your guard down and relax. Your apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain will disappear, even though you are still conscious. And when you are relaxed, we are better able to focus on the task at hand, knowing that you are comfortable.
The sedatives used in dentistry have been subjected to rigorous testing and have a strong safety record backed by decades of use. Several even have “amnesic” properties, meaning that you will remember little to nothing of your treatment — unless, of course, you end up singing and dancing with Britney Spears!
If you would like more information about sedation in dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”
Wouldn't you like your smile to look its absolute best without imperfections or discoloration that can be discouraging and embarrassing? There is an easy and cost-effective way to reshape your smile. It's called bonding, and many people use it to achieve that long-desired bright and attractive look for their teeth.
How dental bonding works
Bonding is a simple, quick way for your dentist to correct minor flaws in the teeth. After a thorough oral exam to determine if a patient is a candidate for dental bonding, the dentist uses tooth-colored resin to carefully fill in and repair small chips, gaps and minor cracks. This resin is the same material that is used in the composite fillings which address cavities.
Dental bonding avoids the need for expensive and more invasive restoration procedures such as porcelain veneers or crowns. In fact, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry states that bonding is used most frequently to repair those little chips that come with normal wear and tear or minor injury to the mouth. In addition, bonding does an outstanding job in protecting sensitive exposed roots and in blending away stains and discoloration.
The procedure itself is painless, requiring no anesthesia. The dentist gently abrades or roughens the surface of the teeth which will receive the bonding treatment. Then, the bonding material is applied and shaped to achieve the best bite and match with surrounding teeth. Then, using a special light, the composite resin is hardened. Finally, the tooth receives a polishing. Depending on the number of teeth being treated, bonding procedures usually are completed in just one office visit.
How long does bonding last?
With good oral hygiene, bonding should last for years. Dentists and hygienists encourage daily flossing and twice-daily brushing to care for the restorations - just as you would care for natural teeth. In addition, dental professionals discourage nail biting, chewing on ice or any other activity that can mar or chip natural tooth enamel or bonded surfaces. Patients should continue with their annual oral exams and semi-annual cleanings or as recommended by the dentist.
4 Dental Health
Steven Christensen DDS is the Layton, Utah area dentist who can help you decide if dental bonding is right for your beautiful and healthy smile. He and the staff at 4 Dental Health will arrive at a care plan employing the latest in dental techniques together with friendly and compassionate care. Call the office today for a consultation: 801-889-1044.